Now that we are out of the initial lockdown, we are able to explore within a 100km range. With Jordan and I both working a limited amount (Jordan has 6-day weekends!), we are trying to take advantage of all the free time we have to explore within our limits. Sightseeing is free and the cost of gas is cheap, so we got in our rental car and set off!
Jordan is a master planner. If any of you have seen our past travel itineraries, you know that they are extremely detailed and allow us to do the most in the shortest period of time. Our Iceland and Germany itinerary in 2017 was planned down to the hour, but with freetime built in of course!
On Thursday, Jordan researched hikes and things to see within our 100km range. I asked him to find a hike that was around 5 kilometers total so that we wouldn’t irritate my knee (we are able to walk walk 3 miles a day now!). One of Jordan’s hobbies is photography and he loves to photograph waterfalls, so he made sure to search for those as well. That evening, Jordan presented to me a 5km hike that lead to a waterfall, along with three additional waterfalls that were closer to the road for us to check out. The next morning, we packed some snacks since all restaurants would be closed and headed out to see beyond the city limits of Lyon.
Our first stop was Cascade du Luizet. This beautiful, flat hike was about an hour outside of Lyon near the small town of Lompnas. The directions to get to the trailhead took us right by Jordan’s office, so our drive there also allowed me to finally see where he works (or will work again eventually). It was the warmest day in Lyon so far at 30 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) and we were looking forward to somewhat cooler temperatures outside of the city. The hike was easy as Jordan promised, but very anticlimactic. The waterfall was more of a slow trickle and not what we had expected from the photos we had seen online. We sat on the rocks by the water for a bit and watched other groups enjoy picnic lunches from their backpacks. Even though the waterfall wasn’t what we expected, it felt so great to just sit and enjoy the outdoors. We are also thankful for the allergy medicine (that we are both taking daily) to allow us to spend time outside.
Our next stop was to head toward Cascade de Glandieu, a waterfall that was right off the side of the road. On the way there, our GPS sent us winding through the countryside throughout small idyllic French towns. Many of the streets are only wide enough for one car at a time, but the towns were quiet since most places are still closed. We saw beautiful, old stone buildings and many homes with roses and other flowers creeping up along the walls of their home.
Cascade de Glandieu is located in the small town of Glandieu and is around 80 kilometers outside of Lyon. The waterfall is over 60 meters high and has moss covered rocks all around it. Now this was a waterfall! The contrast of the moss, trees, and water made this view truly beautiful. I was thankful we didn’t strike out on waterfalls today! The parking lot for the waterfall was full and there were many families relaxing by the falls and enjoying the weather. It was not overcrowded even with a full parking lot, and people were able to maintain their distance from each other.
After hanging out at the falls for a bit, we stopped at a roadside stand (the only thing open anywhere) to grab a couple of cokes to help keep us caffeinated for the rest of the day. At this point in the day, my knee had started to bother me so we decided to skip the two other stops and head back towards Lyon. Before we plugged Lyon into the GPS, Jordan saw a lake on the map and told Google to take us there. We were not disappointed!
We drove for about twenty minutes and went through a long tunnel called le tunnel du Chat. On the other side of the tunnel was a beautiful view of the French alps and Lake Bourget! There was parking conveniently available right outside the tunnel and we stopped to take in the view. According to a placard in French that I think I interpreted correctly, Lake Bourget is a natural lake in France and was formed when the great quaternary glaciers melted. There were many boats buzzing around the lake and it looked like a perfect day to be on the water! We can vaguely see outlines of the mountains on a clear day in Lyon, and it was great to have such a clear view of them from this vantage point.
On the way home to Lyon, we saw a few people paragliding in the mountains above us. This is one thing on my bucket list that Jordan has promised we can do together. We ended the day with our spirits high and with rejuvenated minds. We may not have taken a day trip like this if we were able to travel like we originally envisioned because we would have focused on going to bigger places or doing something more “grand”. We are thankful for the opportunity to explore smaller parts of the French countryside and are looking forward to our next day off together!